Makoe, M. (2009) MXit: How to Encourage and Facilitate Communication Among Students eLearning Africa Newsletter, May 12
This interview with a professor from the University of South Africa describes how instant messaging is being used to encourage collaborative learning. In a long-term study she conducted, she found that isolated students have a need for informal support that is often neglected in distance education. This has led her to investigate on how MXit, a popular South African instant messaging system, can help to fill the gap and drive collaborative e-learning in an attractive, age-appropriate manner.
‘MXit has a registered user base of over 7 million people all over the world and the great majority of them are in South Africa. It has about 11 million log-ons per day and over 210 million messages sent / received per day. The number of MXit users is greater than the total number of landlines installed in the entire country. One advantage of MXit is that it is far cheaper to send a text message via this platform than with an SMS – it costs 2 cents, compared to 70 cents for an SMS message….Most students at the University of South Africa (UNISA) study in groups and this facility will enable them to communicate with each other without meeting at a specific place.’